There's a new opposition in town for the Black Caps, but for now, focusing on Bangladesh's strengths and weaknesses is not their initial concern.

That's not out of disrespect to the visitors – though god forbid any cricketer share their honest feelings about the quality of their opponent – but instead part of a concerted effort to concentrate on their own below-par performances in ODIs, having been hammered 4-1 by India in their last series.

"We've had similar plans right throughout ODI cricket since I started, we didn't necessarily execute them that well against India," analysed coach Gary Stead.

"It's almost for me about putting the opposition aside and saying 'This is the way we want to play our cricket', and getting out there and doing that."


They should have more success executing those plans against Bangladesh than they did India. While Bangladesh have won their last two ODIs against the Black Caps, they have never won in New Zealand, holding a 0-10 record on these shores.

Some of those losses were when they were still an emerging nation – remember Brendon McCullum needing just six overs to chase down 95 in 2007? – but now Bangladesh are firmly entrenched as a side perhaps not to be feared, but certainly to be respected. And while Stead may be wanting to turn his attention inward, it's worth analysing their chances of snaring a historic victory.

Arguably, they have more weapons than Sri Lanka, even without their greatest cricketer, Shakib Al-Hasan, who will miss the ODI series – and possibly the tests – with a fractured finger.

Their most dangerous bowler is Mustafizur Rahman - one of the craftiest operators in the world. Ranked sixth in the ODI bowling rankings, Rahman is a seamer who possesses a devastating array of slower balls and cutters, which has produced a sterling career economy rate of 4.6, and a bowling average of 20.6.

He doesn't have much help in the seaming department, but Bangladesh are quickly producing some spinners of incredible promise. 21-year-old Mehidy Hasan goes at just 4.3 an over, while last year Nayeem Hasan claimed a five-wicket bag as a 17-year-old test debutant.

In their two test victories over the West Indies late last year, spinners took all 40 wickets to fall for Bangladesh. While New Zealand will likely prepare green test match wickets to attempt to negate that strength, in the shorter formats, where run restriction is key, Bangladesh's spin options could make life difficult for the hosts – even though Bangladesh head coach Steve Rhodes isn't holding high hopes for spin-friendly conditions.

"I don't anticipate too much turn in the wickets here, I think they'll bounce and carry, and if anything the wrist spinners might get a little bit of grip out of it."

The Bangladeshi batsmen will feature familiar faces – Tamim Iqbal, somehow only 29 years old, returns - while Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah have almost identical records, averaging 34 at not ideal strike rates in the mid-70s.


Their most reliable batsman is Soumya Sarkar, who averages 35.9 at a superb strike rate of 98, though he is coming off averaging just 11.4 in nine games in Bangladesh's Twenty20 Premier League. Additionally, when compared to New Zealand's lineup – which has three batsmen with far superior records than any of their Bangladeshi counterparts – it underlines that while they may be pushed, the Black Caps should be expected to get back to their winning ways.

Rhodes, too, is expecting an improved Black Caps side, but knows his charges have what it takes to be a threat.

"I think [the Black Caps will] use those bruises to bounce back, and we've got to be ready.

"We know it's going to be very difficult, but we quite like being underdogs – we can surprise a few people."